Over the last few years, automation and smart technology has been a key area of focus for manufacturing companies worldwide. To take advantage of the rise in technology Miller has made significant investment into creating a smarter, more automated factory to improve manufacturing output, factory utilization, and labour productivity.
One of the most substantial investments into our headquarters in Cramlington was the introduction of three small welding robots for smaller buckets and one large robotic welder for buckets going excavators up to 45 tonne or more. Designed to optimise capacity during busy trading periods, the robotic welders improve the rate at which parts can be welded as well as the deposition rate, whilst also reducing health and safety concerns for operators.
The welding robots paired with our precision CNC rolling machine and our highly accurate plasma cutters results in the high-quality manufacture of our buckets, delivering multiple benefits to the business. Not only do the plasma cutters operate at a much faster pace, but Miller also benefits from better utilisation of the steel, as a result we have seen a significant reduction in the amount of scrap steel produced.
In addition, a high-speed dressing machine, press break and dynamic parts storage system have also been installed, which together with the new robots, ensure a consistently high-quality fabrication process and increase the overall manufacturing productivity.
When making this move towards a smarter factory, we had to ensure we were future proofing our facilities to accommodate the evolving industry particularly the higher demand for customized, bespoke attachments. Although standardization as a means of driving scale in production and shortening lead times is a common theme in the industry, our customers are under continuous pressure to increase productivity, and often this requires attachments tailored precisely for their needs. This is something which the factory had to be able to deal with seamlessly and therefore is another reason why we are investing in increased automation.